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Familiar Business Name Has a New Startup

Travis Kalanick, formerly of Uber, is betting on food delivery with CloudKitchens
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2019 3:33 PM CST
Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick leaves federal court in San Francisco, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Newser) – The ousted founder of Uber is back in the business spotlight with a new startup, one that is attracting big money. The Wall Street Journal reports that Travis Kalanick has gotten $400 million from a sovereign-wealth fund in Saudi Arabia for his company, CloudKitchens. The idea behind the firm revolves around the growing food-delivery industry. The company buys property near city centers and builds kitchens that can be used by chefs or restaurants exclusively to make food for delivery. CloudKitchens also runs its own delivery restaurants from the locations. The Journal notes that the Saudi investment is the fund's first in Silicon Valley since the Jamal Khashoggi scandal.

As Business Insider reports, CloudKitchens isn't the first to try to profit from the boom in food delivery. In fact, Kalanick's former company is already in the game with Uber Eats. Another company, Reef Technologies, builds commissary kitchens in parking lots. A separate Journal story on CloudKitchens explains that it's not exclusive to the US; the company is scooping up low-cost real estate in or near big cities in India, China, the UK, and elsewhere. Those who rent kitchen space "might be chefs that want to test out a new food concept but don’t want to lay out the capital or take the risk of opening a new restaurant." Others are existing restaurants who don't want to be confined to dine-in customers. (Kalanick had a tumultuous final year at Uber.)

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